After the Odell Beckham Jr. market looked to be slowing, Jerry Jones is accelerating it to the point he expects the eight-year veteran to sign with the Cowboys soon.
Jones had said Beckham playing in the regular season would factor in heavily to a Cowboys signing, but even after OBJ made comments indicating he would prefer to join a team with the intent of preparing to play only in the playoffs, the longtime owner expects this agreement to go through.
“Odell’s going to join us,” Jones said, via USA Today’s Jarrett Bell. “There’s a good chance he will, with the complete goal of getting ready for a playoff game or two, and then I’ll look to the future. But most of it being about now.”
Viewed as the frontrunners ahead of Beckham’s three-visit week, the Cowboys could move to make this long-rumored signing after their Week 15 game against the Jaguars, Bell adds. While Beckham has angled for a multiyear deal, Jones said the focus on a Cowboys agreement would be for the rest of this season.
Beckham’s Cowboys visit produced several headlines centered around his ACL rehab needing more time than expected. Rumors about Beckham not being ready to go until February surfaced. Beckham tweeted a pawn emoji following the visit, and although the same kind of leaks about his health did not surface after his Giants and Bills visits, rumors connecting him to the New York suitors have died down. Conversely, the Cowboys have continued to talk with Beckham and share that these talks are occurring. Jones’ confidence here points to this process being near the finish line, which would bring an end to one of the longest-running free agency sagas in NFL history.
The former Pro Bowler did not work out for the Giants, Bills or Cowboys, but Jones confirmed Beckham has been working out and “is extraordinary.” Following a week and change of uncertainty in the Cowboys-Beckham drama, the tone here seems to have shifted back to lavish praise. Jones and several Cowboys players spent time recruiting the marquee free agent ahead of and during his time in Dallas last week, and though Beckham’s hopes for a deal in the $20MM-AAV range never seemed in step with his situation, a uniquely structured contract may be in the cards.
Beckham is an in-season free agent for the second straight year, and it will be interesting to see how is Cowboys contract — in the event Jones and Co. finalize this accord, at long last — compares to his incentive-laden Rams pact (which ended up paying out $4.75MM) from November 2021. Beckham’s second ACL tear in a 20-month span cost him a lucrative free agency payday this year. The former Giants, Browns and Rams target could attempt to skip this season in an effort to prioritize a 2023 market run — a rumored scenario around the league this week — but Jones believes OBJ will play this season.
Should Beckham sign, the Cowboys will be set to deploy an intriguing receiving corps for the playoffs. The team has CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, the latter having recovered from a December 2021 ACL tear, leading the way. And Dalton Schultz has improved after a slow start. Beckham would also stand to reduce the roles of James Washington, Noah Brown and recent signee T.Y. Hilton. Acclimation issues may emerge, as it is not exactly common for teams to introduce a high-profile skill player into the mix in the playoffs, but Beckham and Dak Prescott navigating those would raise the Cowboys’ offensive ceiling — assuming Beckham is full-go by mid-January.
“I’m hopeful we can get into some important games and have some Deion Sanders-type results,” Jones said. “Could this be possible to have a great player like that get in two or three playoff games and make some significant plays? I think very much so. That’s not an exaggerated thought at all.”
Beckham is coming off a turbulent 2021, which involved him forcing his way out of Cleveland, but the LSU alum’s form during the postseason has driven this market. The former Giants first-rounder topped 100 yards in the Rams’ NFC championship game win and was well on his way to matching that performance in Super Bowl LVI, before his second-quarter injury. We may soon finally see how Beckham looks coming off his second major knee setback.